“You are a magnificent musician – thank God for you in the future!”

- music icon Quincy Jones

 

“Andrew Craig is a supreme musician for our modern age, fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, jazz and new age genres with proportion, taste and skill”

- Carol Lipson, The Live Music Report

 

He’s Musical Directed high-profile tributes to Quincy Jones and Oscar Peterson, as well as York University’s 50th Anniversary Concert. He’s arranged music for 50,000 children singing for Nelson Mandela. He’s shared the stage and the studio with some of the biggest names in music: from Wynton Marsalis to Herbie Hancock, Molly Johnson to Measha Bruggergosman, to name just a few. He’s received commissions from diverse organizations, from the National Arts Centre Orchestra to the Toronto 2015 Pan/Para-Am Games.

 

Andrew Craig is a true Renaissance man in the arts: singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, producer, director, broadcaster, playwright, impresario, and content creator. He is engaged in a broad range of activities in several areas of new media, including live performance, radio and television production, scoring for picture, and music theatre. Recognized as a leading cultural thinker, Andrew is frequently asked to offer his guidance and consultation to organizations such as the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Faculty of Fine Arts at York University, and the Toronto and Ontario Arts Councils.

 

He is a former resident artist at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, and  a former member of the Board of Directors of Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre. As a radio host and producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s national live concerts programs, Craig showcased the remarkable breadth and depth of Canadian musical talent, over the national airwaves and to the world via the Internet, for nearly a decade.

 

He is the recipient of York University’s Bryden Award in 2006, and the 2009 African-Canadian Achievement Award for Excellence In The Arts. To date, Craig has developed several projects as an impresario, including a full-scale tribute to Earth, Wind and Fire, a popular and recurring Valentine’s Day concert called “Celebrate Love”, the acclaimed Gospel Christmas Project, and the Sistahs and Brothas Projects.

 

Commissions include “United We Play”, a work for ten pianos and orchestra, debuted at the three-year countdown event for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Para-Am Games, and a pan-stylistic piece for the 2012 Mayor’s Ball For The Arts, commissioned by the Toronto Arts Foundation. Andrew led a performance of his own arrangement of “We Are One”, the 2015 Music Monday anthem, as selected by the Coalition for Music Education, backed by 160-voice choir and orchestra. Andrew served as Composer, Music and Co-Artistic Director for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Para-Am Games Flame Arrival Ceremony, and Composer and Music Director for the daily Victory Celebrations for the Games.

 

In 2013, Andrew founded Culchahworks Arts Collective, a vibrant Toronto-based arts organization that develops and produces works and social justice programmes with deep cultural resonance. Culchahworks produced the Toronto commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the March of Washington, and Dr. Martin Luther King’s historic “I Have A Dream” speech, which received national media coverage. Through Culchahworks, Andrew created a pilot project called the Warriors’ Chorus, in partnership with the Toronto District School Board. A heritage reclamation initiative by design, the Warriors' Chorus brings together youth of colour facing unique challenges into a choir.

Culchahworks premiered Andrew’s oratorio, “We Still Dare To Dream”, inspired by Dr. King’s speech, in January 2014, at Toronto’s Queen Elisabeth Theatre, to rave reviews. The Oratorio was remounted in 2016, as part of the “King’s Playlist” concert. Culchahworks presented the workshop and full presentations of Nicole Brooks’ “Obeah Opera”, a fictional retelling of the Salem witch trials through the eyes of African slave women. Culchahworks presented Andrew’s “Global Marley”, a multimedia concert tribute to reggae icon Bob Marley, on what would have been the artist’s 70th birthday. In 2017, Culchahworks produced Andrew’s multi-disciplinary tribute to African-American artist and activist Harry Belafonte (celebrating the icon’s 90th birthday), produced an event celebrating the history and legacy of the African djembe drum, and produced the 2nd edition of the Can.You.Read.Festival, a one-day festival of literacy and food security. The 3rd annual festival is in the preparatory stages.

2018 saw the debut of Andrew as a playwright, theatre director, and filmmaker. He wrote, directed and produced a trio of multidisciplinary works entitled "Portraits, Patterns, Possibilities: A Black Canadian Trilogy." The presentations told the stories of three significant Black Canadians, for whom 2018 is an anniversary year: Chloe Cooley, Mary Ann Shadd, and Willie O'Ree. The plays, and film about O'Ree were debuted in Fredericton, NB (O'Ree's birthplace) and Toronto, to highly favourable audience reviews.

 

In August 2017, the TD Niagara Jazz Festival invited Andrew to perform a headliner concert. Andrew took this opportunity to write a whole new suite of songs, and form a new trio with guitarist TJ Whitelaw and drummer Otis Williams. The “AC Soul Trio” released its debut album in download-only format in September 2017. A confluence of jazz, funk, R & B, soul, gospel and calypso and Reggae influences, this new album represents an artistic goal Andrew has been chasing for much of his career: finding the nexus point at the centre of  Black music genres that originated in North America and the Caribbean.

In February 2019, Andrew (through Culchahworks) embarked upon the "Eglinton West Project", intended to shine light on the history of the Eglinton-Oakwood neighbourhood in Toronto - the hub of the Caribbean community, and the birthplace of the Toronto Reggae sound. The unique culture of this area is under severe threat from the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown subway line. The centrepiece of this project, the "Titans of Toronto Reggae" concert, caused a sensation in the city. It brought together 16 of Toronto's legendary Reggae artists for a one-night-only performance. The gathering was so significant that the Mayor of Toronto declared March 2 "Titans of Toronto Reggae Day" in the city.  The documentary film, currently in progress, will have its debut in the Fall of 2019.

Continuing his development as a playwright, Andrew (through Culchahworks) presented a workshop version of his latest play, entitled "Fish And Rum". This work explores the story of illicit trade between the islands of Newfoundland and Jamaica during the Prohibition Era. "Fish And Rum" will have its World Premiere production in February of 2020.

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